As Force 5 to 6 winds battered the Matthew Micallef St John Stadium on Saturday afternoon, hopes for impressive timings or distances were scant, but the crowd was still delighted with two stunning displays of athletic performance which deservedly go down as national records.
In the very last event of the third Open Challenge Meeting, Luke Micallef delivered a superb performance on the 3000m steeplechase dipping under the GSSE qualifying standards (9.10.00) with a 9:09.00 timing. For the Pembroke athlete, this timing represents not only a new national record, but an improvement of a staggering nine seconds on the previous best, which he had set last July at the National Championships.
Earlier in the day, La Salle’s Nicolai Bonello improved his national record on the pole vault with a 4.45m jump, his second such accomplishment this month. Sana Grillo took home the honours among the girls with 3.30m.
Among the most exciting races of the day, Janet Richard (Pembroke A) won the 400m race convincingly in 54.39s, well within the GSSE MQS. The battle for a place on the 4x400m ladies national team is heating up with youngster Kay Testa, also of Pembroke, posting a very encouraging 58.63s in challenging wind conditions.
The men’s race was also a keenly contested event, with Pembroke’s Luke Camilleri registering the best time of the day with 50.39s ahead of his teammate Steve Camilleri in 50.53s. Even here, it’s all to play for in terms of the quartet that will be representing Malta at the GSSE.
In the throws, Joanne Vella (Pembroke A), secured an Over 35 record in the javelin with a 40.05m throw.
Following this weekend’s event, athletes have three more opportunities to get that coveted spot on Team Malta, culminating in the Final Qualifying event on 1st May.